Breast Cancer Doesn't Affect Sexual Function in Women

Sexual function and body image stable over 18 months for women with ductal carcinoma in situ

THURSDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- Sexual function does not seem to be significantly disrupted in women with a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), according to a study published online July 19 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Sharon L. Bober, Ph.D., from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues assessed self-reported measures of psychosexual functioning and body image in 304 sexually active women diagnosed with DCIS within the previous three months. Outcomes were assessed at baseline and at nine and 18 months.

The researchers found that sexual function was very similar in women with DCIS and women in the general population, with no significant disruption noted for women with a diagnosis of DCIS. Over 18 months of follow-up, sexual function and body image were notably stable. There were no differences in sexual satisfaction for patients who had reconstruction compared with patients who did not have reconstruction following mastectomy.

"Although it has been shown that women with DCIS face a number of significant psychosocial challenges, including vulnerability to anxiety, depression, and heightened inaccurate risk perceptions, it is positive news that sexual function may not be significantly negatively affected by this diagnosis," the authors write. "Moreover, it is noteworthy that these findings held true for women who underwent mastectomy as well as hormonal therapy."

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